tv Andrea Mitchell Reports MSNBC February 20, 2012 1:00pm-2:00pm EST
some phony theology. oh, not a theology based to bible, a different one. but no less a knee -- theology. >> i cannot help but think those remarks are over the line. >> how does santorum explain his loaded criticisms of president obama. could israel take out iran's nuclear program? and really? amy returns to weekend update to take on foster friess. >> well we would love to accept your apology foster, but you made a mistake and now you'll have to life with it for the rest of your life. >> in our daily fix, santorum leads the national polls and he is ahead in michigan. can he withstand the criticism that comes with success.
chris is managing editor of post politics.com. chris, we have heard a lot in the last couple of days from rick santorum and some argue it's great politics that he is firing up the base, he is going after barack obama, others say it's going to scare elders in the party that he is not electable as a general election candidate, what say you? >> i hate to hedge my bets, but i think it's a bit of both. this will help among christians that are not a huge part of the base in michigan. it's about 40%, as the process goes forward, oklahoma and tennessee, it could help in those places. but you are right, i think the kind of republican bigwigs, the gray beards who are worried, look at this and say, we have an economy that is struggling. unemployment still above's 8%, are we going to nominate someone who is putting the spotlight on
himself and not the president? that worries them, clearly, i'm still skeptical of a brokered or exonerate tested convention. the mechanisms that are involved are significant. let's see how it plays outs for the next couple of weeks. >> let's play what rick santorum said in full about theology. >> the president has met a new low of oppressing religious freedom that we have never seen before. if he doesn't want to call his values of theology that, is fine. obviously, as we all know in the christian church there are a lot of different stripes of christianity. >> i was talking about the radical environmentalists. it's not questioning the president's belief in christianity. i'm talking about the belief that man should be in charge of the earth and should be good
stewards of it >> he clearly was not talking about the environmentalists in the first segment. and we should point out, he is talking about the economy, he is making a strong blue collar argument, and these are distractions. >> they are distractions. let's talk about what made news, your average person that is not -- >> public school education, whether the state and federal government should be involved in education. >> foster friess, and contraception on this show and now theology. >> and a comparison to hitler when he talked about what happened in 1941 and whether the great rest generation could take to challenge of taking on obama >> i want know in every speech he gives, he talks about the economy, but it's what is the news that comes out in the speeches. and it's what we just talked
about. none of which are close to the top of the mind voters. so i think it's a function of the fact that santorum has toiled in the sea level of candidates for a long time. now all of a sudden, the spotlight is shining very, very brightly on him. i don't know anyway has changed all that much, but the way in which we are looking at him and the way that republican voters are looking at him has changed. he is a guy that has the best chance over than mitt romney to be the nominee. he has to adjust. >> in fact, he is ahead in the polls. and finally, happy birthday. >> thank you, 36 years old. man, never thought i would make it. >> the best is yet to be. thank you. and for more on in, i'm joined by alice stewart, national press secretary for the santorum campaign. alice, great to see you, thanks for coming on. i know the candidate is talking about the economy and he is in michigan and you had a big
debate with mitt romney about the auto bailout and the like. you have to acknowledge that the media is looking at santorum as he is now the front-runner. let's me play more of robert gibbs and the obama campaign's response yesterday. >> it's just time to get rid of the mind set in our poll particulars that if we disagree, we have to question character and faith. >> the question is, when rick santorum disagrees with the president profound approximately, why make it an issue of values and an issue of theology, why not just say we disagree with economics and taxes? >> certainly, rick has said it and we all said it before. robert gibbs took it out of context. he was not questioning the president peace character or
religion. as he has clarified, he is talking about the global warmists of the country, he was referring to the president's policies in terms of the radical islamic policies that the president has specifically in terms of energy skplorgz expl e explorati explorations. keystone pipeline is case in point. it is key to helping with gas prices and job creation, he will see as the prices begin to rise, his popularity will go down with it. the keystone pipeline is a case in point that is directly attributed to that statement. and the president's policies are outlined as not working in rick santorum's op-ed. he presented the plan about jobs and economy. it's about bottom up, free
markets, and it will turn around the economy. >> when rick santorum, instead of talking about the keystone pipeline and environmental policy, when he talks about theology and values, and the president's theology, it does seem that he is going after the president on religious grounds. >> he was talking about the environmental extremists, is a type of theology. that is what he was referring to in the broader context of energy exploration, it's a bigger picture that he was trying paint and specifically that message is resonating in michigan. as i said and you said, he is doing well in the polls and well in ohio, he is closing the gap in georgia and arizona, he is leading in the national poll approximats, because he is talking about what the american people want to talk
b creating jobs and turning around the economy. and creating an environment that will -- >> another issue is public schools. public education. we know that he has chosen to home school his kids. but listen to what he had to say about public schools. >> where did they come up with public education was the rule in america? the idea that the federal government should be running schools frankly much less that the state government should be running schools, is anachronist anachronistic. >> now the state government and state and local governments have, you know, long had the role, the chief roll in educating most kids. public education is a long standing tradition in the united states. is it -- why would he reopen that debate? >> well, he personally has views of how to educate his children but in terms of the government's role in education, he believes
it should be done at a local level. does he not believe the state or federal government should have a role in educating the children. that was his point. he believes in less federal government intervention in our lives and that is why he will governor as president of the united states. we have too much big government and he is trying reduce the size of federal government, and that in turn will help reduce spending. and that will go a long way to help reducing the debt and deficit that we have in this country, according to cbo, obama's policies will have us reaching a trillion in debt and deficit by the end of the year. and not only that, with the increased debt and deficit, it's terrible for the economy, it creates no certainty to create jobs and the cbo said unemployment at 9% at the end of the year. santorum wants to reduce the size of government and education is a big part of that. >> another issue that he is
brought up is prenatal testing. this is what he had to say about insurance coverage for prenatal testing. >> they require free prenatal testing in every insurance policy in america. why? because it saves money. why? because free prenate hal testing ends up in more abortions and therefore less care that has to be done because we cull the ranks of the disabled in our society. the bottom line is that a lot of prenatal tests are done to identify deformities and the procedure is to encourage abortions. prenatal testing results more often than not in this country in abortion. >> there were a lot of reasons for prenatal testing. it's a given, a major advance in women's health care. does rick santorum believe that because it does lead to abortions in some cases and we do not know what the data are,
because it's hard to come up with those numbers, does he believe that that should not be provided in insurance? >> he has been out spoken on this issue. he made it clear. andrea, as you know, he had a personal story in connection with that with a daughter that was born and died shortly birth. sew has a personal connection. he does not believe in it. he believes it leads to doctors encouraging someone to abort a child and he is pro life. he is pro life from conception to natural death ands in a very important point that he feels is important for him to put his foot down on. he is life, pro life and this is an important point. >> there are many anti-abortion candidates in both political parties that still believe that prenatal testing is an important advance. often to save the life of the mother of the woman. >> well, as i said, he feels strongly about this based on his personal connection.
he is pro life today and has always been pro life as opposed to mitt romney who is pro abortion in the past and now pro life. that is something that he will always do. stand on the side of plief no matter what. >> if elected president, would he try to remove that coverage from government financed health care plans? what he has done. he has a personal view based on his faith and experience. he will not let the government get in the way of what a woman chooses to do. while he has a personal view on it. he would not let that get in the way of what e government does. >> thank you for clarifying. good to see you alice. thank you for coming on today. >> thank you. >> coming up, high anxiety will israel heed the warning against attacking iran. should the u.s. arm the opposition in syria. this is "andrea mitchell reports" only on msnbc. ♪ he was a 21st century global nomad ♪
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the obama white house is trying make sure it's not surprised by an israel strike against iran. meanwhile today national security adviser is in washington. he met with the prime minister and today he is meeting with the leading hawk on the iran threat. joining me now is our guest. you have a lead story today, front page story that details how challenging it would be for iran to go in. because we have gotten used to the whole idea that for israel to go to iran rather. we have gotten used to the fact that israel attacked the reactor
in iraq. in 1981, niece lightening strikes. but this is a different and more complicated operation, just the distance and over flight and refuelling capability, which they do not have. >> it depends who you talk to. there's unknowns here. the united states does not have perfect visibility on what they have. this would be difficulty as you said, it's not an in and out, overnight bomb a reactor and leave. this would need a hundred planes, a lot of complex operations are refuelers and planes to protect the refuelers and also having to strike a number of targets at the same time. >> now quietly there's reporting that saudi arabia would be encouraging israel to do this and take out an iranian nuclear
threat. is it conceive able that the saudis would permit over flight? >> nobody knows for sure and it's probably certain that the saudis would not acknowledge it public publically, but again, that is an unknown, there's three possible routes that israel could take, south over saudi arabia or north over turkey. the view is that the most likely route will be over iraq. >> iraq which no longer has the air defenses and would not be able to prevent it. and it's the shortest route t other question is why, why does israel. we understand that israel feels it's an existential threat. the joint chiefs chairman will point it out and acknowledge it. but the argument from the administration from the u.s. administration to netanyahu was
that the threat is not eminent and that eisrael cannot damage the program enough and accomplish the long-term goals. >> there's a difference of opinion of how eminent the threat is, there's a different view as to how soon it can happen. but why do this operation if you only set it back a few years. from if point of the view of israel is that is better than not doing anything. i'm not saying they are about to do it but that is part of the israely calculation, that this is what we do and you cannot understand, we cannot have the next general operation of israel living with an iranian bomb. >> thank you. >> thank you. >> the obama administration as we say is telling a -- says that iran has agreed to return to nuclear talks t administration believes because sanctions are
beginning to bite. the chairman of the joint chiefs is warning israel that a military strike would destabilize the entire region. >> a strike at this time would be destabilizing and would not achieve the long-term objectives. but i also understand that israel has national interests that are unique to them. and of course, they consider iran to be an existential threat in a way that we have not concluded. they are a rational actor and it's for that reason i think that we think that the current path we are on is the most prudent path at this point. >> joining me now to discuss the on going tensions in the region is aaron david miller a former state department negotiator. i have never heard a top military official referring to iran as a quote rational actor.
what is the reason there? >> that with the destabilizing comments show what is we already know, this administration does not want this or need this and has clearly put the israel government on notice that they need to think carefully. that is not meaning that the president will tell net yahoo not to do this. but it's clear that the administration does not want to see this happening. better not risk the consequences of this action, when there's time to allow these pressures to build and persuade the iranians not to weaponize. >> iran, first of all, agreed in the last couple of days to return to nuclear talks. if you are sitting in israel, you could argue it's a delaying tactic. we have been through it before, they good nowhere and iran makes progress. >> it's a tom and jerry, a cat
and mouse, they are going to want to get the capacity to produce a nuclear weapon. the indians got one they got one. the pakistanis wanted one they got one. it's going to be hard to stop the iranians to acquire the capacity. it will take them longer because pressures are greater, but they have not given up this -- the prosecute of the capacity and perhaps even if they could get away with it, the weapon. >> but what general dempsey said and others are saying is that they do not believe that iran has made the decision to go and produce a bomb. yes, they want the capacity and they want to develop, get the equipment, enrich to 20% and get the fuel ready to make the next leap to 90% for the weapon but they have not made the decision. do you agree? >> maybe yes and maybe no, it's impossible to know. unless you change the character of the feeling in tehran, then
it seems to me that iran want as weapon. it's a form of protection. it deals with their pro found insecurities and it can cover any regional ambitions that they have. whether or not they made a decision or whether or not they are rational actors and could be exonera convinced to not move forward is not clear. one thing that is clear, if we have no sanctions or cyber attacks or no threats of military action, the irans would have the capacity already to produce a weapon. it's important we keep the pressure up. >> do you think the pressure alone could prevent them from proceeding? >> i don't. i think diplomacy right now is not an option. a military action would be like mowing the grass, they could not do anything but retard -- it may be good enough to retard for a
year to three, the grass will grow back and this time with a legitimacy and intensity that the iranians will use to accelerate their own program. so, if there's no diplomatic solution and no military action right now, then we drift and the longer we drift the greater the chances over time that the iranians will in fact develop a capacity. >> what is the bottom line here? >> they are going to get the bomb whether we try to stop them or not? >> i think the bottom line is that they will acquire at some point a, the capacity to actually produce a weapon if they want to, if they want to go that way. >> aaron david miller. thank you. >> pleasure. >> and what happens if mitt romney loses michigan, the politico briefing next right here on "andrea mitchell reports." ok! who gets occasional constipation,
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briefing, joe williams joins you now. thank you for being here. we saw big changes, but how important is michigan now? is this do or die for mitt romney or does he have enough structure to keep going? >> it's do or keep being seriously wounded. >> a thousand cuts follow. >> yes, it makes the process of getting to tampa more difficult. >> we heard loose talk about brokered and contested conventions, but on "meet the press" there was a dash of cold water. let's watch. >> i do think that on the republican side there may be more demand than there's supply. >> i have a hard time seeing how somebody gets in at this late date. >> the filing deadlines are out there but how do you get someone and who is out there? there are enough delegates to be had, but who is there?
jeb bush is definitely not interested. >> well, and you almost have the gop base kind of pining for where fore art there my perfect candidate. basically, the two possible candidates, you have to build an organization from scratch in a short period of time. even they they look presentable, they will have the problems with the moderate past difficult to overcome with the base. >> it's that problem of the divide in the party and trying come up with the perfect can tate that satisfies both factions of the party. >> it's next to impossible. >> great to see you. the crisis in syria, what should the u.s. do, this is "andrea mitchell reports." spark card from capital one.
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in syria, anti-government protesters were able to get all the way to demascus this weekend, the 11th anniversary is being reached by the current ruler. lyndsay graham is in egypt, there they called for the u.s. to supply the opposition. we have the latest. first of all, they are not talking about arming the rebels, but they are talking about getting supplies in. >> icndeed, they are taking the page out of the arab league who said they are willing to offer material and political support including the free syrian army, what that material support means is unknown. most have interpreted it to be weapons and any other form of
logistics that can support the syrian opposition. a lot were asking senator mccain and graham about that, and they said that there are other ways that neighboring countries and the arab league could provide weapons to the opposition that is something that the group that is fighting the government is asking for. if you are not going step -- if you are not going step in, give us the weapons. that is raising a great deal of concern. one of the other sensitive issues that came up at the press conference with senator mccain was the issue of ngos here in egypt. senator graham said it was a politically targeted raid that did that. >> and in fact, senator mccain is the head of the iri, one of those groups.
and allbright is a head of a group. the rest of the senate and house are considering cutting off aid to egypt. so there's talks under way there. meanwhile, santorum's conservative views have helped to boost his chance for the republican nomination, but is he too conservative to beat president obama in a general election. you went through these issues that have become light pening rods. it's generated excitement in the republican base, but has that made him too narrow casted to win a general election? >> it puts him in a difficult position in a general election. some of what you have to say if you look at the full context, it's not as out there if you take a piece of it, as it sounds. but there's a lot for him to
explain. his campaign recognizes that he is in a different phase in the campaign and all of these will come back at him and he will have to provide a better explanation. his notion is he is the right kind of republican to go against the president. he can energize the conservative base and because of his blue collar roots and he has learned to work in a difficult state for republicans at some times that he can run the kind of campaign that can win, if you talk to republican strategists privately, they think he has a difficult time particular lly i the suburbs. >> in fact, he has a much better grasp of retail campaigning and politics in the states like the rust belt, than romney z-d -- romney does, it's clear that he believes things that are outside the mainstream. when you question whether state
governments should be involved in education, and if talk about prenatal testing. that raises issues. >> there's no question that he has strong convictions, that is the thing that makes hit attractive. and he has learned to campaign in a result belt environment. but there was one of the people i talked to for this piece, tear y holt, said, the issue is not stating the position, it's the tone. and karl rove was on fox the other night and he said, he would have a very hard time in a general election that if you are a social conservative, you have to find ways to talk about this, so that it brings people in and doesn't push people away skpian that is the challenge for senator santorum. how do you talk about the views he has in a way that it's welcoming. >> talk about it in terms of
government mandate and talk about it in terms of religious freedom, same issues but frame them more as sesable. >> i was shocked about the comment he said about education. it's not something that is not said by them. it's widely held position, when you go to the issue of state government doing that, it raises other questions and goes to the heart of the way we have run the education system in the country for a long, long, long time. if idea of kind of up ending that seems to me to take you into a debate that you really do not need at this point. >> and takes you off the issues that you should be talking about, if you want to defeat mitt romney. >> yes, exactly. to talk about, a who ais the rel conservative and b, whos that better plan of fixing the
economy. thank you. >> and for another perspective on all of this, let's bring in mark mckinnon. mark, you have the view that rick santorum could be a more effective general election candidate against president obama because of his blue collar appeal? >> right, andrea, let me just mention, we have something new in politics now call today andrea mitchell rule, and it's the following, if anybody in your campaign thinks it's a good idea to have your super pac millionaire fundraiser to go on television, you have to do two things -- on the issue of santorum. >> on the issue of santorum. >> i do think that, i mean, his organization has been overwhelmed, that is why we had the foster friess moment. that was not a good idea to put people like that out front. i think that santorum understand what's is saying. and in some ways, it's a
problem, at this point for romney or santorum. i think that romney would be stronger in some ways, in is same way, i think of 2004. john kerry was the perfect opponent, because his weaknesses reflected george bush's strengths, what people liked about bush they liked about dean, he was strong and consistent and bold. we know that president obama and his team are getting traction on their strategy with a middle class message about income inequality. and if that is where they are strong, that is where santorum is strong. that is where romney is weak. so, i think that if that is where obama's strength is, that is also where santorum's strength is. there's an argument that santorum could be a stronger general election candidate. >> just to make your point, i wanted to play a bit of mitt
romney in farmington hills, michigan. this was the mitt romney, full out pander to how much he loves michigan. >> i love this state. it seems right here, the trees are the right height. i love cars. i i don't know, i mean, i grew up totally in love with cars. it used to be in the' 50s and 60s, i could tell you what model defense. i love cars and i love american cars and long may they rule the world, let me tell you. >> now, mark, you tell me, what is the right height for a tree? >> 10 feet and about six inches in michigan. but it varies by state and it's a good thing that romney is talking about tree heights. >> what is he thinking? >> the problem is that he wants to be like b-- liked about everyone, and santorum knows you have to make people mad. they want you to be strong and
be willing to step on toes and that is why romney is having a probable. he is always trying make everyone happy. >> is it going to be mitt romney or rick santorum, one or the other, is there a chance that you see that you see that someone else will get into the republican race? >> i love in chaos theory and i think it's always possible, you look at the path and the big states coming up. i see that everyone is checking their bets for other options. and as was pointed out in a column yesterday, there's more and more attention on an alternative nominating process with somebody like david walker. the former no labels cofounder, a lot of chaos and programs that will lead to interesting results. >> i'll put you down in favor of chaos.
thanks, mark. up next, the race to space. marking 50 years since john glenn's historic flight. this is "andrea mitchell reports" only on msnbc. and two. after a morning of walk-ups, it's back to more pain, back to more pills. the evening showings bring more pain and more pills. sealing the deal... when, hang on... her doctor recommended aleve. it can relieve pain all day with fewer pills than tylenol. this is lois... who chose two aleve and fewer pills for a day free of pain. [ female announcer ] and try aleve for relief from tough headaches. ask me. a day free of pain. [ male announcer ] even if you think you can live with your old mattress... ask me how i've never slept better. [ male announcer ] ...why not talk to one of the 6 million people who've switched
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so without you there'd be no bud? that's right. well, we like you. [ laughter ] ♪ hi everyone, coming up at 2:00, breaking news, israel prime minister, netanyhu will be meeting with the president to talk about not striking iran and a headline, santorum, really? he has been under fire for his recent comment on birth control and what he calls the president's theology, and some republicans are worried if he continues to look like a culture warrior, he will not stand a chance in he wins the nomination. and a avalanche takes the life of three veteran skiers and a woman did manage to survive. we will tell you how.
50 years ago america went to space when john glenn becomes the first american to walk on the earth. it open today way to decades of exploration >> the view is tremendous. >> jeffrey is with time magazine and writing about it all. thanks so much. you interviewed john glenn and he has also talked to brian williams recently about the step back from space. let me play a bit of that for you. >> i'm sorry that we are not maximizing the research/return out of the space program, it means that without the shuttle, we have no way of getting into space. >> is concern besides the end of the space shuttle program. take us back and let's talk about john glenn and how heroic
that first space flight was. >> well, glenn's space flight was a function of a few things. it was a function of white knuckled terror. the soviets were the great bear on the other side of the planet. they had gotten into space. they had beaten us into space with sputnik and they sent a man up for a full day, for a full year before glenn went to space. we felt it was a highest ground in a war that was not yet a shooting war and we were losing badly. getting him up successfully and bringing him down safely was a huge thing that gave the nation the sense that we will be okay both militarily and exploratorially >> what are we giving up?
>> there's nothing wrong with stopping the shuttle program. it was an elegant machine, it was a complex machine and it was a crazily fickle machine and it killed 14 people, so it was time for it to go. what was missing was a long-term plan in place that would be followed through by successive administrations to get us back. we did that before. we did it with apollo, there were three or four differe administrations involved in getting us to the moon. we need to quit changing courses with every new administration, we need a plan and we need to follow it year after year. >> thanks for joining us. what political story will be making headlines in the next 24 hours. that is next right here -- and for all of you jeremy lin news,
which political story will make headlines in the next 24 hours? i think jonathan capehart, we're going to be talking a lot about mitt romney and rick santorum. just to clarify something that happened earlier. alex stewart from rick santorum's campaign was on with us and talking about his explanation about what he meant about theology and she said he was talking about president obama's in their view, radical and environmental policies and then she reiterated it and
misspoke. this is what she had to say. sg he's clarified the statement. he was talking about radical environmentalists. there is a type of theological secularism. >> alex stewart just called. she repeatedly said during that same interview radical environment policies. she slipped when she said. i didn't hear it or oi would have caught her on it. i did not hear her use the word islamic. the tape tells the tail. >> it raises more question. why radical islamists, would she say it. maybe it's out there and we're talking about it in general. let's keep something else in mind. the use of the world radical environmentalists are the exact
words she used, that's the red meat that the republican primary voters like. they want to hear that. they want to have someone that will go right at the president and what he's doing. when it comes to environmental policy and the things the president has been you shalling, ie cap and trade. this is not some democratic radical agenda. it's had bipartisan support. >> it's very unpopular in michigan. my own impression in looking at that tape she misspoke. she was talking about environmental policies clearly. >> it is clear in that interview. people misspeak. >> all the time. me included. thank you. that does it for us. tomorrow on the show republican campaign vet ral fred mallick
joining us. in our next hour, santorum, really? that was the headline in today's philadelphia daily news questioning if voters are nuts as he leads the poll in michigan. john bayer, that's the political columnist who wrote the words. he's from santorum's home state. he's joining me live. benjamin netanyahu is sent to be meet with president obama at the white house in two weeks. this comes as the u.s. and britain are urging not strike iran. the l.a. times has an article on the lack op diversity that pick the winners. turns out 94% are white. 77% are men. imagine living your life with less chronic low back pain. imagine you, with less pain. cymbalta can help.
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